Monday, September 11, 2006

Update on Mom

Thursday, September 7, Mom was released from Allegheny General Hospital after 31 days to a long-term acute care facility in Monroeville. She had a set back three weeks ago and I hadn't been able to communicate with her since. It was like the lights were on, but no one was home, which is typical with brain injuries. The new facility is really nice. I went to visit her on Saturday. I sat down and started talking to her. I started to tell her about Goldstock and how much fun Riley had. The most amazing thing happened. As soon as I mentioned Riley's name, she got this big smile on her face and was really looking into my eyes. From there, I asked her all types of questions and she answered with head nods and tried to talk. She has a trachea in, so speaking is not that easy. This is such a huge step! I can't wait for her to get stronger so that she can be put into a wheelchair and I can bring Riley for a visit. Dogs are only allowed in the lobby and on the grounds. If mentioning his name gets that reaction out of her, I can't imagine what feeling is golden coat will do. I keep hoping and praying that things get better. It is such a shame for someone that is 59 to be in this condition.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I saved a life Labor Day weekend!

I attended Goldstock in Scranton, PA (six hour drive) Labor Day weekend with Riley, my golden retriever. It's a weekend fundraiser at a summer camp for Golden Retriever Rescue groups. It's like Meatball's (remember that movie) with your dog.

I excitedly took Riley, along with others and their dogs to the lake to see if Riley would swim, or jump off the dock. He had went into the water once when he was a pup to retrieve a stick and was horrified! I hoped he had grown out of it and thought that seeing hundreds of dogs in the water would make him want to go in too. He was having nothing of it. Go figure, a Golden that doesn't like water!

While at the lake, I suddenly heard Jen, my roommate screaming hysterically. Bailey, her Golden had swam out really far to retrieve a buoy that he thought was a ball. The buoy was roped and anchored. Bailey was swimming with all his might to bring the "ball" back to the dock. He was getting exhausted, yet he would NOT release the ball. We feared that he was tangled up in the rope. He was not going to stop until he had retrieved the "ball", retrievers just can't leave something!

Without hesitation, I went running toward the dock along with Karen from England. I started dropping all my gear, my backpack, leash, took off my jacket, sweatshirt, kicked off my shoes, socks and threw my hat, sunglasses, cellphone and purse on the dock as I was racing to the water. Despite it being 54 degrees, I jumped in the lake with all my clothes on, swam out to Bailey and attempted to take the buoy from him. He growled at me, (that stinker) but gave it to me. I then checked to be sure he wasn't tangled and he immediately swam for the dock. He was so tired, it took three people to lift him out of the lake.

I arrived at the dock to find Riley looking down at me from the dock with my socks, jacket and sweatshirt in his mouth. Seems that he went behind me and gathered up all my clothes for me. Too bad I was the one in the water and not him! Guess he was the smart one all nice and dry!

Attending this event was a wonderful thing for me. Up until the moment I got in my car to go, I didn't know if I had the physical or emotional strength to go. My Mom's illness and hospitalization has really been sucking the life out of me. Something made me go. I truly believe that I was meant to be there to save Bailey.

Karen and Rhonda get Bailey situated with Jen, his mom.

Here's Bailey, the precious baby, sleeping on a spare bed at camp later that night.

7 MALE dogs, waiting for their treats. Riley is first on the left. Believe it or not, no fighting, snipping, nothing! I am amazed at this breed!

Riley, Starlight, Fletcher, Bailey, Noah, Conner and Leo